If you are aiming for a career at the Transportation Security Administration, one of the very first, if not THE first hurdles that you will have to overcome is the TSA test.
Also known as the TSA CBT Test, this pre-employment assessment is designed to make sure that candidates meet the minimum skills and competencies that are required of a TSA officer based on the task that they may undertake while on the job..
This means that the TSA test is not only challenging due to its subject matter but also due to its timed nature.
Fortunately, this can be mitigated, if not outright overcome, with good preparation and research on the contents of the assessment.
Without further ado, here are a few tips to help you prepare for the TSA test.
- Familiarize yourself with x-ray images of passenger luggage
Although the TSA test contains a number of subjects, the most important one to study for is the x-ray scan CBT test.
In this portion of the assessment, you will be presented with an x-ray image of a passenger’s luggage, bag, or briefcase like the one below:
You will then be tasked with figuring out if the scan contains any illegal or prohibited items ranging from knives or guns.
Other times, however, you will be tasked with looking out for miscellaneous items like shoes or gadgets of various sizes and shapes.
While this may vary from question bank to question bank, some images will have HD-quality scans while others will have low or terrible resolution.
This is in order for the administration to make sure that the prospective TSA officer can effectively do their job despite any possible technical issues or difficulties that may occur.
2. Understand and Master the Timed Nature of the Test
As a prospective TSA officer, you will only have around a few seconds, if not a minute at most, to carefully scan a passenger’s luggage to spot any dangerous or illegal materials.
This sense of urgency will be reflected in the TSA test where you will be given barely enough time to complete the question sets.Although you are not expected to complete all of them, applicants who manage to do so and answer them correctly will be given more consideration compared to those who scored low.
The best way to go prepare for this is to find a repository of x-ray images of luggage containing such items and try to find every single one within the fastest time possible.
3. Brush up on your language and grammar skills
The TSA test will also determine if you have sufficient skills to read, write, and understand passages in the English language.
This is because the administration will require you to make accurate reports, either verbally or in written form, on a daily basis, and a single mistake, whether it be typographical or otherwise, can be catastrophic at the airport as the wrong person may be inconvenienced, questioned, or detained.
4. When in doubt, take full advantage of online resources
For those who want to make sure that that they have all of their bases covered, investing in online resources such as reviewers or refreshers for the TSA test should be considered.
These resources have most, if not all, of the subjects that will appear in the actual assessment, and many of them offer a large question bank of x-ray scans covering all of the illegal, dangerous, or suspicious items of note.
This will give you an edge over other applicants as you will be familiarized with the look, shape, and composition of such items in an x-ray scan, effectively increasing your points and making yourself stand out from other applicants.
Remember: It is very likely that two or more people are competing for the same position or opening at the TSA at any given time, and even a single point advantage could mean the difference between you being hired or skipped over for another candidate.
With all of these pointers in mind, we hope that we managed to help you in becoming more prepared to tackle the TSA CBT test and land that dream job of yours with a bit of hard work and perseverance.